DNA Newly Discovered Evidence Stalled 18 Months in Caddo County Oklahoma

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Man Convicted of 1987 Murder Still Waiting for State to Address Exculpatory Petition for Post Conviction Relief

Michael Nolte remembers how “I was excited and hopeful beyond words when results from the DNA test arrived from SERI.” In 2008, Mr. Nolte’s private test results from Serological Research Institute (a laboratory utilized by the Innocence Project) reported that evidence in the 1987 murder of Edgar Allen revealed a heretofore unidentified contributor’s DNA present in multiple elements taken from the crime scene. Mr. Nolte’s DNA was not found in the testing; the report is included in his post conviction petition. According to court records, Mr. Nolte was charged and sentenced to death in 1988 as the sole perpetrator in the murder of Edgar Allen. Mr. Nolte stated that he came within a few hours of that sentence being carried out. It was a year after the new discovery, in September 2009, before the Petition for Post Conviction Relief was filed in Caddo County.

The state has yet to respond although it is required to do so within 30 days according to James L. Hankins, Attorney for Mr. Nolte. In the meantime, the citizens of Oklahoma have paid approximately $37,500 in an already strained budget to incarcerate Mr. Nolte, who is now serving a sentence of Life Without Parole, as referenced in the court petition. In March 2010, a group of concerned and supportive citizens for a commutation of Michael’s sentence met with Caddo County District Attorney Bret Burns. Present was Mr. Nolte’s attorney, James Hankins, http://www.ocdw.com, his wife, a business woman, and two ministers, who knew Michael personally, along with a large pile of letters from an attorney familiar with the case, persons associated with the Department of Corrections, ministers, business owners, church members and family members—all supporting the character of Mr. Nolte with assurance of continuing support for his commutation and ultimate release. Mr. Burns requested some additional information, including a polygraph and intelligence on the identity of the possible assailant, which were all supplied to him in the immediate future. The group members agreed to pay the state for further DNA testing that would seal the issue, which could not be accomplished without the state requesting assistance from CODIS.

Mr. Nolte has waited through the changing of the guard in the 2010 elections, waited for CODIS to be put in action; waited in vain for a year and a half for the state to respond. He continues to work at his job at the Vocational Technology College, and assist Project Rise, a re-integration coalition program made up from the private sector and Department of Corrections that teaches inmates many levels of character building along with practical skills http://www.destinationcharacter.com. Over the years he has taught non-English speaking inmates how to read, instructed the Department of Corrections’ “Thinking for a Change” curriculum and spoke to thousands of juvenile offenders. He continues his studies toward his Masters of Divinity from Calvary Christian College & Seminary. Michael is a Rhema graduate and was ordained in 1992. Early in December 2010, Michael was the key note speaker for the East Central University "In and Out" Program Graduation, which was attended by the Deputy Director of the Department of Corrections and other officials of the State of Oklahoma.

“Three of my friends have died here in the last few weeks,” says Nolte, who is now fifty-one. “It gets harder every day to hold out hope.” Attorney James Hankins says he is filing a motion this week to demand the state to respond. “I had hoped to avoid more costly processes to the state and the Nolte supporters through mutual cooperation,” Hankins states. Mr. Nolte’s petition is published at http://www.noltegov.info where readers may view the details of his case and leave comments for his supporters.

Reference: District Court of Caddo County State of Oklahoma Case CRF-1987-131. Sources: Interviews with Michael Nolte and James L Hankins, Attorney, by Katheryn Freeberg, Independent Journalist, Author and Editor.

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